Chapter 22 - Fear of Falling

By The Wandering Englishman

Opening his eyes slowly, the short brunette sat up, looking around the familiar room he had been calling home for the last six months. He blinked as his eyes traveled over the open curtain, the sunlight flooding onto the burgundy carpet.

Looking at the chronometer, he sighed. Every day he would wake up at exactly the same time he arrived all those months ago.


Standing from the deep bed, Kaien walked over to his closet, looking over his belongings. Pulling on a white T-shirt and black jeans, the teen moved to the window, parting the curtain to look at the charred ground where he had appeared.

Just seven minutes after he'd left.

Flexing his hand with the warmth building there, the youth closed his eyes, trying to will the feeling away. Something was wrong. Something had changed, but had it changed for the better? He couldn't leave until he knew his being here wasn't in vain.

Seven minutes from when he'd failed the last of his family.

Replacing the heavy cloth in front of the window, Kaien turned his gaze to the floor. The dark patterns in the red carpet began to spin before his eyes as a high-pitched squeal sounded in the back of his head.

Seven minutes from his last moment of control.

He screamed.

Squall blinked away the spots before his eyes, rubbing the newly forming lump on the back of his head.

"Shit, I'm so sorry Squall..." Laguna dropped the chair leg from his hands, kneeling down next to the SeeD on the floor. The president wrapped a hand around the younger man's shoulder, rubbing the arm gently.

Seifer stood at the door smirking, thankful that he wasn't the one who stepped through the door first.

"Look, I know you're grinning up there, could you come and give us a hand...a cure spell...anything?" The greying man asked, looking up briefly before returning his gaze to his injured companion.

Green lights surrounded the two on the floor, Squall's vision returning as the sparkles dissipated.

"That's the last time I try and rescue you." The blue-eyed youth murmured as he used Laguna to pull himself to his feet.

"I said I was sorry."

"Forget it." Squall smiled, his stomach feeling like it was doing tumble-turns as the older man's green eyes traveled over him. Both men were shaken from their stupor when the tall man coughed, reminding them that the blonde was there too.

"I hate to bring the mood down, but we need to get out of here before she wakes up."

"Just lead the way, Seifer."

"Drew, man...I'm sorry." The distinctly southern accent muttered, patting the dark haired man on the back as they watched the casket be lowered into the ground.

"We all loved her."

Drew looked at her headstone, biting his lower lip.

"I know, Irvine. I know."

"Look, if there's anything I can do for you -"

"I want you to kill Seifer, and then get the bitch responsible for sending him to kill Quistis." The shorter man looked up, deadly serious. The cowboy swallowed, lowering his head.

"Okay. But on one condition."

"Name it."

Taking a deep breath, he pulled a picture from his pocket and handed it to the grieving man.

"Elle, don't go..." the dark skinned man called down the hall. "Not by yourself."

The crying girl turned around, looking intently at the President.

"You didn't even call me, Kiros! You didn't even bother to try and contact me. My stepfather dies, my brother dies and now you sent my only nephew to join SeeD and probably get killed in 2 years?! What do you expect me to do?"

"Don't leave like this. Stay...please." The tall man pleaded, now standing a couple of feet from her. "We're expecting him for dinner tonight. One last meal before he leaves. He's just with Samuel getting everything ready."

"Weapon and all, no doubt." She quipped, still noticeably frustrated. Kiros sighed, dropping his shoulders in defeat.

"Have you even spoken to him, Elle? Or do you think I'm just trying to get rid of him because of who he is?"

Elle looked up, her dark eyes doe-like with tears.

"I didn't think so." The slender man cooed, placing a warm hand on her shoulder. "The invitation for dinner still stands." He tried to give a comforting smile, hindered only by the frustration the young woman before him was giving him.

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